Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Albany
ALBANY, a city of the United States, capital of the state of New York and of the county of Albany, picturesquely situated in a beautiful and fertile country on the western bank of the Hudson, 145 miles from New York. It is, for an American city, irregularly laid out, and much of its architecture is poor, although it contains several very fine buildings, and many of its more recently made streets are broad and handsome. The Capitol, a brown stone edifice, 115 feet by 90, built in 1807, faces a square called Capitol Park; and opposite it, on the eastern side of the square, are the State Hall and City Hall, both constructed of white marble. There are several beautiful churches, including a large Roman Catholic cathedral. Among the literary and scientific institutions of Albany may be mentioned the university, incorporated in 1852, giving instruction in most branches of education, especially practical science and law; a medical college; an academy, and other schools of various grades; a large observatory; the state library, with about 90,000 volumes; and the Albany Institute for the collection and diffusion of scientific information. Albany is an important centre of trade, being situated at the point where the united Erie and Champlain canals join the Hudson, and possessing good railway communication with most cities of the United States. The chief articles of commerce are timber, wheat, barley, wool, and tobacco, enormous quantities of which, especially of the first-mentioned, pass through the city annually. Besides its transit trade, its numerous foundries, its breweries, carriage and hat manufactories, and tanneries are of importance. In 1873, 536 vessels (83 sailing and 352 unrigged vessels and 101 steamers), of 68,682 tons, belonged to the port. Albany was founded by the Dutch in 1623, and is thus one of the oldest European settle ments in the United States, dating sixteen years after that of Jamestown in Virginia. It was captured by the British in 1664, who changed its name from Beaverwyck or Williamstadt in honour of the Duke of York and Albany. It received its charter in 1686, and became the capital of the state of New York in 1797. It is governed by a mayor and twenty aldermen, and is divided into ten wards. Population in 1870, 69,422; number of families, 14,105; and of dwellings, 8748.